April 18, 2013, 10:57 AM

Heiler launches a tool for managing product data across retail channels

PIM 7 lets retailers update cross-channel product data through web and mobile interfaces.

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A new web-based product information management application from Heiler Software AG is designed to help retailers more easily manage up-to-date product information across online and offline selling channels, the company says.

The application, PIM 7, is a new version of Heiler’s Enterprise product data repository that enables users to access via a web browser or mobile devices its suppliers’ latest product information. They can then use information to inform marketing campaigns and for online and offline merchandising efforts.

Rolf Heiler, founder and CEO of Stuttgart, Germany-based Heiler, says PIM 7 is designed to help retailers quickly and accurately display new products from multiple suppliers on e-commerce sites, as well through retail stores and wholesale channels. “For our customers, time-to-market means time-to-shop—the time it takes to make new assortments available in the e-shop and to the distribution channels,” the company says. Heiler Software’s U.S. headquarters is in Detroit.

Nikki Baird, managing partner of research and advisory firm Retail Systems LLC, says PIM 7 addresses a growing need among multichannel retailers for a more comprehensive and flexible way to manage product content. In the past, she says, product information management, or PIM, applications were more focused on managing basic information such as product weights and dimensions, which helped merchants better plan how to locate and display products in stores.

“PIM is undergoing a transformation from the stodgy old days of weights and dimensions to playing a much more customer-facing role, with everything from manufacturers’ marketing copy to user-generated product images becoming an important part of the product record,” she says. “As retailers seek to improve consumers’ ability to access relevant digital product information at the store shelf, being able to present a consistent view into that information across retail channels, including web and mobile, is only becoming more important.”

PIM 7 includes technology from Informatica Corp. designed to ensure that product data is accurate, ensuring that all users in a retailer’s departments are viewing the same information, whether they access it through a call center, a mobile app or a merchandising application within a retailer’s enterprise resource planning system, Heiler Software says. That also helps PIM 7 users across a retail organization to work with multi-source assortments of products, with clear mapping of information to show the source of each product and where the retailer has slated to merchandise and market each product, the company says.

In addition, the web-based interface provides multiple levels of access to product information based on each user’s role and work task. Merchandise managers, for example, can track how changes to product information have resulted in changes in up-sells and conversion rates, says Markus Schuster, Heiler’s PIM product manager.

PIM 7, which is sold as licensed software, starts at one-time fees starting at $324,000 for the Standard edition, with higher fees for more comprehensive enterprise editions, chief marketing officer Benjamin Rund says.

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